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Projects & Results

Biocontrol of canola cutworms: identification and attraction of parasitoids

Project Details

Lead Researcher(s)

Barbara Sharanowski


Yvonne Lawley

Funding Partners

Manitoba Canola Growers Association

April 2012 - March 2015


The Challenge

While insecticides play a dominant roll in insect pest management, other strategies to promote natural and effective control of pests is essential to promote long-term sustainable canola production.

The Project

Identify the community and biology of cutworms, along with the taxonomy and biology of the parasitoids in the area. From the information gained through studying their relationship, develop a user-friendly taxonomic resource for end-users. Lastly, determine potential plant resources that can enhance the ecosystem services of parasitoids.

The Results

Sixteen different parasitoids were found attacking cutworms in the Canadian prairies with an overall parasitism rate ranging from 3-26%. Growing plants in mixtures increased the overall flowering period duration by overlapping the complimentary flowering periods of individual species – allowing the possibility to design a cover crop mixture that compliments the lifecycle of the respective parasitoid. A user-friendly key to identify the sixteen parasitoids on cutworms will be available at the end of August 2015.

Grower Benefits

With parasitoid activity on cutworms ranging throughout the Canadian prairies, growers can use the cutworm parasitoid key to help with the decision making process of whether spraying a non-selective insecticide is beneficial or consequential to their specific location and situation.


Cutworms, Biocontrol, Parasitoids